When you’re about to blow out your birthday candles, what do you wish for?

As I turn another year older today I find myself beginning a new chapter of my life. I began to reflect on what I wished for last year and all the blessings and hardships that came to be the last 365 days.

My wish this year is to continue to learn from the mistakes I made and the lessons I learned. I’ve made a list of things I wish I knew and want to remember moving forward. I hope they help you as much as they helped me.

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1. Silence is Golden – I began meditating each morning a month ago and it has made a noticable difference on my stress levels. I simply use an application I downloaded on my phone. At this point I only do it for 5 minutes; however, that short window of time forces me to relax and prepare for the day with a clear and level head. I face each day more optimistic and happy.

2. Life is Good – I’ve read so many books that recommended keeping a journal; however, I never made time for it. I was reading The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod and it finally got me motivated enough to do it. What I found was I naturally recall and remember the things I did NOT accomplish each day. For example, when I would get home I would find myself feeling as though I had accomplished very little and that I had a “bad day.” Although I knew I had worked very hard I was FEELING as though it wasn’t creating any progress. The good news is that after I wrote in my journal a few times I started to remember all the progress that I had made that day. By the end of each journal entry the thought that would cross my mind was, “Life is good.” So I wrote it down as well. It had been so easy for me to forget all the good things that happen for me on a daily basis. I’m so glad I started and don’t plan to stop.

3. The World will Go on without Me – This was something I never thought I’d have to remind myself of. It is usually easy to notice physical changes as we grow older; however, for me it was an internal and subconscious change. I was becoming bitter and resentful. I was mad at the world for being the world. I was mad at people for being people. I was getting upset over all the crazy things that were happening in the world and they began to change me. Fortunately, I have an amazing wife who takes the time to listen to me when I’m venting and she caught onto my new sense of being a grouch at times. She gave me some feedback and it helped me reflect on what I was feeling. The reality was I had become a modern version of Ebenezer Scrooge. I felt like there was so much wrong in the world and it upset me to the point where it was effecting my thinking pattern. I am relieved to say that I’ve snapped out of my “Scrooge” phase. I can’t control the world. I can’t control what people do; however, I can make sure that I am not letting the bad in others ruin the good in me. 

My challenge to you my fellow leaders is to reflect on the triumphs and tribulations since your last birthday and discover the important lessons that will carry you even further until your next birthday.

Thank you for such an amazing year and I’m looking forward to all we will accomplish moving forward.

Enjoy the day!

— James Schleicher